Starting a new school year is the best feeling ever. It’s a feeling
unique to teaching; new students, new supplies, new curriculum, and
sometimes even a new classroom. It’s a clean slate in many ways, but
also one of the most stressful and busy times of the year.
In kindergarten, there are a few things that I like to focus on to set my year up for success: classroom management, parent communication, and assessments.
management and structure is one of the most important things needed for
a classroom to run smoothly. Students need to know what is expected of
them, what their daily schedule and routines look like, and what
consequences there will be if they do not follow those routines.
management is also a very personal decision for all teachers. At my
school, we have 30 classrooms and they all are run very differently, but
we all have the same goals and outcomes (mostly). For me, I like to
have individual, small group, and whole-group
positive reinforcement. And having a prize box full of legit prizes
always makes it better (Play Doh, bubbles, sticker books, etc.).
and consistent communication with your students’ grown-ups is
absolutely essential. This can be a mixture (or one) of what you’re
most comfortable with: phone calls, emails, Zooms, etc. My advice is to
spend some time thinking about how consistent you can be with your
communication. If weekly does not seem manageable for you, focus on
thorough bi-weekly communication.
I also like to be clear
about our standards and goals throughout the year. I don’t give weekly
updates (it’s really hard to stick to weekly schedules–especially
during a pandemic), but simple and easy-to-understand lists and
explanations. My favorites are my handbooks (they give full page overviews of each standard) and my standards checklists.
are the most important tool to inform instruction. I also love sharing
assessment data and goals with my students’ families. Again,
transparent and consistent communication is essential, especially with
assessments and data.
I recently grouped all of my literacy assessments into a year-long resource for
my classroom. I’m so excited to have a comprehensive portfolio to use
for my phonemic awareness, phonics, and writing assessments and
instruction. Each month also includes a progress report to send home to
students’ grown-ups. I most likely won’t send one for all; just the
friends that need extra practice on specific goals.
Best of luck for the school year! 🙂